Coronary heart disease knowledge, health promoting behaviors and perceived benefits and barriers to exercise and healthy eating in Montana females
Baldwin, Sadie Ann Schwenk
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The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of rural women's knowledge of coronary heart disease risk factors, current health promoting behaviors, and perceived barriers and benefits to health promoting behaviors. The research questions posed were: What is the coronary heart disease knowldge of women living in rural areas; are women in a rural western state engaged in health promoting behaviors; and what benefits and barriers to health promoting behaviors do rural women perceive related to diet and exercise? The Health Promotion Model served as the guiding framework for this study. This descriptive study utilized a non-random convenience sample of women living in non-metropolitan or non-core counties in Northwest Montana seeking healthcare at one of four designated clinics. Inclusion criteria included female gender, age 21-55 years olds, premenopausal status, ability to read and write English, and residence within a designated non-metropolitan county. The following instruments were used to collect data: Coronary Heart Disease Knowledge Tool for Women, Health Promoting Lifestyle Profile II, Exercise Benefits/Barriers Scale, and Healthy Eating Benefits and Barriers Scale. The sample (n = 25) population was predominantly white and non-Hispanic. The average Coronary Heart Disease Knowledge Test for Women score was 71% with a range of scores from 40%-80%. Health promoting behaviors were ranked in the following order from most to least practiced: interpersonal relations, spiritual growth, nutrition, stress management, physical activity, and health responsibility. The sample perceived moderately high benefits to exercise and healthy eating and moderately low barriers to exercise and healthy eating. Findings from this study support a need for healthcare providers to discuss heart disease risk factors with their premenopausal clients and to encourage participation in health promoting behaviors, especially those ranked lowest, physical activity and health responsibility. Research is needed with a larger population to better understand the relationship between heart disease knowledge, health promoting behaviors, and perceived barriers and benefits to healthy eating and exercise in rural dwelling women.